If you've ever felt completely helpless as a loved one grieves-I can promise if you just remember 3 simple letters, you will be the one they always remember as "the one that was really there when I needed it".
Grieving the loss of 2 babies and the murder of my father in 18 months time-I have learned a lot about the "g" word. And I am determined to allow God to bring beauty from ashes through it.
As an involuntary expert now, I pray sharing what really helps mend those broken and bruised places of a heart can arm you to be the greatest support to a friend or family member.
Here it is-the 3 letters to remember:
I told you it was easy.
S-"sorry". You don't have to have the magic words. You don't have to be positive and say "they're in a better place" or "God must have needed them more". Just. Say. Sorry.
Then be silent. Hug. Cry.
Bonus S word-"this sucks". Having someone simply recognize that it's OK to not be OK at that moment means more than you could know.
A-acknowledge. This is the one I wish I could yell from the mountain tops. "How is your grief?" is the absolute best thing to say in the following days of seeing your struggling loved one. I get it-you want to avoid them and not bring it up. It makes you uncomfortable. They might cry. You will "make them remember or think of it" if you ask.
They. Are. Thinking. Of. It. 24. 7.
I promise we won't say "wow-I totally forgot he/she died until you asked".
Acknowledge that the person is grieving. Because they are. And they will be for a long time. Much longer than you think they should be. Weeks after the funeral..."how is your grief?"
Months later..."how is your grief?"
YEARS, yes years later...."how is your grief?"
D-Dates. Remember them if you can. The date of the death, miscarriage, event. If not (we do understand everyone else's life goes on), be aware and sensitive to certain holidays that may bring up overwhelming emotions. For example-Mother's Day and Father's Day are torture to those who have lost children or parents. If there was a special holiday (mine was 4th of July with my Dad as a kid) that you know they loved spending with the person they lost-just be there. A simple text saying "I know today is tough. And I'm here." can truly shatter an attack of depression.
So next time you feel that "I just wish I knew what to do to help" feeling-try SAD. And know the power it has.
On behalf of anyone grieving now or in the future-THANK YOU.